2020 Scholarship Recipient
The Oregon Pilots Association Air Safety & Education Foundation announces the recipient of the $3,000 Raymond Meyer Memorial Flight Scholarship for 2020.
On behalf of the Scholarship Committee – Joe Smith, Noreen Bowden, Dallas Enger and Scott Lane – I present to you, Lucas Johnston. Here’s his own story:
"My name is Lucas Johnston and I am the first person in my family to earn a private pilot license and attend a certified flight program. My first flight was in March 2018 and I received my private license in September of the same year. My private training was completed in under 45 hours under part 61 and my ground schooling was done through Gold Seal online ground school. My major is in flight technology at Lane Community College in Eugene Oregon and I am on scheduled to graduate in June 2021. Piloting has been my dream for years, to fly to foreign destinations and learn about foreign cultures is my goal. I know I have a long way to go to accomplish this and understand this will be a step-by-step process.
"When flying I feel nothing but exuberance and joy. There’s nothing else like it in the world. I work full-time as an Uber driver to fund my schooling, and put in over 60 hours of work a week so I can pay for flight technology school. This scholarship will allow me to focus more directly on my instructional needs of becoming a commercial pilot, see the world and provide safe passage for others to do the same."
Kim Muinch, ASEF’s scholarship chair said, “We had eight very, very well qualified applicants for the scholarship. We assembled a small committee in January, and evaluated the candidates. One of them is a working Mom with young children, with aspirations of getting her license, and eventually progressing to certified flight instructor. Another candidate, with a life-long dream of flying took advantage of his veterans flight training benefits to get his private / instrument rating. Now he is working on his commercial ticket. Then he wants to get his CFI and teach. He works as an aircraft fueler at his flight school and needs funds to finish up his training. Last, there were several young aspiring men and women who want to get started, or continue their flight training.
The committee selected a candidate, and the COVID Pandemic hit. Everything stopped. The Committee decided to wait for flight training to resume to make the award.
Weeks, and then months passed. Finally, in June the Committee re-convened, and decided it was time to make the award. Enough time had transpired, and it seemed the entire aviation world had changed. A decision was made to contact each of the candidates and ask them, “Say intentions”. Everyone was still committed – especially our selected candidate. He was still working – as an Uber driver - accumulating flight training funds and going to school at Lane Aviation Academy in Eugene. Staying the course, as we say.
We had a lot of fun notifying Lucas. We made a secret plan with his flight instructor, Alec Anthony to inform Lucas following a flight lesson. Here’s the video of OPA President Neal White surprising Lucas:
Then, a few days later we made it official, and arranged for Lucas to receive the award on the ramp at the Lane Aviation Academy at the Eugene Airport. A half-dozen OPA members flew in for the event to see long, long-time aviator and OPA past president Joe Smith make the official presentation. Here’s that video: